This smoked chicken alfredo pasta is the ultimate comfort food, with forkfuls of tender pasta and chicken simmered in a creamy, smoky sauce. Infusing leftover smoked chicken into the rich alfredo brings out deep, savory flavors in every bite that will keep you going back for more.

This easy one-pot recipe comes together in under 30 minutes. Smoked chicken, shallot and garlic gently simmer in the sauce, allowing the smoky aromatics to permeate each silky spoonful. Nestled into fettuccine or pappardelle, this pasta is simple yet decadent.

And if you love these smoky flavors in pasta, try this smoked salmon pasta too for a delicious twist. This a go-to family favorite worth adding to your rotation.

smoked chicken alfredo pasta on fork

What You’ll Need

  • Pasta – Any shape will work, but I like a wide noodle like fettuccini or pappardelle (featured in the recipe photos). Always cook your pasta al dente. Homemade pasta is especially wonderful with this creamy sauce.
  • Smoked Chicken – You can easily smoke some for making the pasta, or use leftover smoked chicken (what I always do). Grilled chicken will also work great.
  • Butter – Unsalted, but if you have salted, just go easy on the seasoning until you taste test.
  • Aromatics – Some chopped shallot or onion and garlic add a lot of flavor to the sauce.
  • Heavy Cream – The base of the silky creamy sauce. If you need to substitute, half and half can work, but you might need to add some flour to thicken it up.
  • Parmesan cheese – Go with the real Parmigiano-Reggiano if you can. I like to coarsely grate the cheese for the cream sauce for the best flavor.
  • Large pot or Dutch oven – A 4-quart size pot is perfect for cooking the pasta, and then making the sauce.

See the full recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

A One Pot Wonder

Most recipes make the cream sauce separately, then mix in the cooked pasta. Instead, the technique I use is to build the sauce directly with the cooked pasta. The starches in the pasta help to thicken the sauce to perfection without adding flour or having to cook it very long.

This one-pot method has two bonuses: you make fewer dishes, and eyeballing the sauce becomes effortless. Once you make this alfredo a couple of times, you won’t even need to follow recipe measurements anymore. Now that’s my favorite kind of easy cooking.

Variation Ideas

If you are feeling like some variety, there are so many things that can be added to the pasta to change the flavors and textures.

  • Mushrooms – They can be roasted or sauteed in the same pan before cooking the pasta.
  • Broccoli (or broccolini) – I like to keep the pieces bite-size.
  • Sauteed zucchini
  • Sundried tomatoes – These add a wonderful acidity to the sauce.
  • Fresh basil – Add it at the end or it will turn brown.
  • Top with parmesan breadcrumbs – Crunchy-garlicky goodness
  • Lemon – To lighten and brighten up the sauce, add a nice squeeze of lemon juice when the sauce is finished.

Top Tips for Success

  • Salt the pasta water – this is the only way to season the inside of the pasta, and it really does add flavor to the finished dish.
  • Reserve some pasta water – That starchy-salty pasta water can be used to thin out your sauce at the end if it is a little too thick.
  • Cook the pasta al dente – Undercook pasta just shy of al dente before finishing in the sauce. This prevents it from getting mushy or overdone and leaves a slight bite to it.
  • Don’t brown the onions or garlic – Soften, the onions, but don’t brown them, which will totally change the flavor of the sauce. Reduce the heat if needed and stir often.
  • Use high-quality ingredients – The type of pasta you use makes a big difference, along with splurging a little for Parmigiano Reggiano that you freshly grate yourself.
smoked chicken alfredo pasta overhead horizontal

Smoked Chicken Alfredo

A 5-ingredient, one-pot smoked chicken Alfredo pasta simmered to velvety perfection in just 30 minutes—every savory, smoky bite full of rich creaminess.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 8 oz pasta (fettuccine, pappardelle or your desired shape)
  • 8 oz smoked chicken , cut into 1⁄2 inch pieces
  • 3-4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 medium shallot finely minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1/4 tsp salt and ground black pepper


  • Cook pasta al dent (slightly undercooked) according to the package instructions, in generously salted boiling water. While the pasta cooks, prep the other ingredients.
    Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water.
  • In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add shallot and cook 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add the smoked chicken and toss to warm through, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta back to pot and stir to coat with butter. Pour in heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Simmer for 2 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to coat the pasta. If it becomes too thick, add reserved pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time to reach the desired consistency.
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in Parmesan until melted and smooth.
  • Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper and a pinch of dry rub if desired.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil or parsley, and extra Parmesan.


  • The recipe serves 3 to 4. It can be scaled up to feed more.
  • Optional add-ins: Basil, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet dry rub, zucchini, mushrooms, or spinach.
  • To brighten the sauce, squeeze in some lemon juice

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